Starting this month Google will identify websites that aren’t equipped with a https:// SSL security certificate as “not-secure” when people visit them in Google’s Chrome browser. Since 2014 initial preliminary measures had been taken to decrease insecure websites ranking in search, but Google have taken the fight for greater security a step further as search engine results and on-site measures prepare to go up a notch.

Some time ago https:// was a feature that was only required for websites taking online transactions, a method of encryption and security to prevent people getting their credit card and personal details stolen. Security continues to grow in importance and https:// is now becoming the industry standard as Google had hoped to deliver from 2014.

Is Your Website non-secure?

If your website is non-secure it’s time to take action. If losing ground in Google’s search engine wasn’t enough your website visitors will now be able to visibly see in the search panel you are running an in-secure website. Here is the secure symbol on my website:

Google chrome secure website mark

Websites that are not secure will be displayed like this in the future. Red has obviously been chosen to draw people’s attention to the fact that this website is insecure:Not Secure Google ChromeWebsite owners running non-secure websites need to invest in an SSL certificate for their website in order to enable the “Secure | https://” visibility in Google Chrome. Many hosting companies have added SSL security as an included feature to their packages that simply needs to be enabled. This website for example did not come with an SSL certificate, but it was included as a default feature of all packages to comply with the need for security at a later date. Your best route of action is to contact your website host, who will be happy to help you. 

When Your Website is Secure

Once you have enabled the SSL security feature it is important to include the new https:// version of your website in Google’s search console and use the “fetch tool” in the sidebar to tell Google’s spiders to crawl the secure version of your website. It would also be appropriate to upload a fresh XML sitemap of your website to make sure all of your content is being indexed by Google.

Don’t be insecure

Here’s why it is important to fall in line with these security measures from a business and marketing perspective:

  • Recent high profile scenarios of data misuse by Facebook has escalated the importance for online security. If your website is insecure, people are likely to question your credibility, feel uncomfortable navigating your website and reduce their willingness to interact with you further.
  • Insecure website will receive greater punishment in Google’s search engines, as they continue to enhance the importance of security in ranking. This means that any efforts you are making in terms of creating new content and placing back links are being significantly effected by your websites lack of security.

If you are running a website that is not-secure, take action now and prevent any further damage to your ranking and online credibility in Google, Chrome and across the web.

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